Documentation:Open Case Studies/Political Science/Advocacy4

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Climate Change Action Plan

Clothing Waste

Introduction

Clothing waste has become a mass contributor to Metro Vancouver landfills, as the average Vancouver resident throws away 19 kilograms, or 42 pounds, of textiles every year [1]. According to Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, manufacturing of the most common fabrics used in the production of clothing such as polyester is resource- and energy-exhaustive. Global consumer culture has contributed to the emission of "volatile monomers, solvents, and other by-products of polyester production" in wastewater from these manufacturing plants, in which the EPA considers to be "hazardous waste generators" [2]. Metro Vancouver is considering on banning clothing from its landfills as part of their initiative of generating zero waste by 2020, however, it is up to individual action to achieve those goals [3].

Action Plan

The problem of clothing waste lies in our overconsumption of it. To address it we propose various initiatives:


  1. A social media campaign that raises awareness of the implications of the consequences of our consumption of clothing
  2. Integrating ways to educate children and young adults of the need to be conscious of our level of consumption and its implications
  3. Photo exhibits in major cities that depict the gravity of over consumption of fabric (how much water is used, how synthetic fibres pollute the ocean, how much is wasted)
  4. Putting pressure on clothing companies to become mores sustainable (through boycotts, marches, social media campaigns such as a Twitter hashtag)
  5. Consciously purchasing clothes made by companies that use sustainable practices (eg. People Tree)
  6. Purchase clothes at second hand or thrift stores
  7. Create an awareness within your social circle, hold clothing swap nights
  8. When disposing of old, unwanted clothes, give them to thrift stores or clothing recycling
  9. Join or create online groups to facilitate clothing exchange

Implications

Creating a society more educated on the harmful effects of climate change, whether man-made or not, will have widespread benefits to the sustainability and health of society.

Political

The increased valuation for environmental care and consequences on a social level puts more pressure on politicians and parties to promote and implement policies for environmental sustainability. In turn, this also further encourages norms for environmental consideration.

Economic

By encouraging people to buy less clothes, the demand and prices for clothing would eventually decrease.

Social

Creating a pressure to reduce unnecessary clothing purchases perpetuates the norm that we ought to consider the environmental consequences of our actions.

Remaining Challenges

(Erase this text: What are some remaining challenges to your action plan? What does it fail to address? How can you mitigate shortcomings?)

References

  1. Ziedler, M. Metro Vancouver considers banning clothing and textile from landfills. CBC News. Retrieved October 19th, 2017
  2. Claudio L. Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry. Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Sep; 115(9): A449–A454.
  3. Zero Waste. City of Vancouver